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RBMN acquires Locust Valley Line; promotes Susan Ludwig

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief

Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad (RBMN) announced it acquired the 5.5 mile Locust Valley Line effective June 8, 2016.

RBMN has been operating the line since it was returned to service in 2006. RBMN sees this line as beneficial because of its proximity to I-81.

The line runs from Laurel Jct in Delano Township to near Mahanoy City in Mahanoy Township in Schuylkill County. RBMN acquired the line from the Locust Valley Coal Company.

CEO Andy Muller, Jr. said, “This acquisition continues our efforts to acquire and operate contiguous railroad lines in our service territory. Our efforts to require county-owned railroads in the region to privatize and sell their assets is part of our overall strategy to bring our award-winning service to more areas in our service territory. We believe through our economies of scale that we can deliver better service at lower prices to customers throughout the region. The Locust Valley purchase is part of that overall strategy.”

RBMN also has appointed Susan Ludwig as Assistant Vice President Customer Service. Ludwig started at the railroad in October 2011 as a Customer Service Manager. She came to the railroad with a background working in customer service and accounting for an e-commerce company. She was promoted to Director of Customer Service in 2013 and served as the primary account representative for Plastics and Chemicals.

In her new position, Ludwig will oversee all Customer Service Managers. This department handles all day-to-day customer service issues related to Reading & Northern’s merchandise business, which encompasses more than 25,000 carloads per year.

In announcing the appointment, RBMN President Wayne Michel said, “Reading & Northern is growing quickly and as a result we decided it was the time to have a full-time AVP dedicated to customer service. Taking care of our customers is the key to our success. Last year we grew our traffic by 19% and traffic volumes are up again this year. This unprecedented growth in a soft economy is not an accident. It takes a commitment to customer service, and in promoting Susan to this new position we are taking another step to ensure our customers remain satisfied.” Ludwig lives in Fleetwood, Pa., with her husband David and son Tyler.

Reading & Northern, with corporate headquarters in Port Clinton, Pa., is the largest privately owned railroad company in Pennsylvania and the only railroad to be named Regional Railroad of the Year three times by Railway Age, receiving the honor in 2002, 2011 and 2015. Reading & Northern serves more than 60 customers in nine eastern Pennsylvania counties (Berks, Bradford, Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Northumberland, Schuylkill and Wyoming). It handles freight to and from all points in the U.S., as well as import and export traffic, and transports a variety of materials including anthracite coal, plastics, wine, lumber, paper, grains, chemicals, metals and sand. It owns more than 1,000 railcars and 35 locomotives and employs more than 200 people. Through its sister company, Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway, diesel- and steam-powered passenger excursion service is offered. In 2015, more than 100,000 guests rode on LGSR trains.




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